Sunday, February 18, 2007
Movie Reviews: THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND & MARIE ANTOINETTE
THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND
In the 1970s, a Scottish doctor becomes the personal physician of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (Whitaker). Once he realizes Amin's insanity and viciousness, he's appalled that he's abetting the tyrant.
Cast Gillian Anderson, Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, David Oyelowo, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney (more)
Director(s) Kevin MacDonald
Writer(s) Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock
Status In theaters (limited)
Release Date Sept. 27, 2006
MPAA Rating R - for some strong violence and gruesome images, sexual content and language.
The Last King of Scotland is an interesting character study and shows that sometimes the scariest villains are the one that seem harmless. Here is where Forest Whitaker, perennial movie nice guy, fits in perfectly. Whitaker always brings a sense of sereneness to his roles. In this film Whitaker adds a sense of unpredictability and danger to his usual machinations. Whitaker conveys such an excellent sense of charm and madness that you never really know what his character will do. Needless to say Whitaker is well deserving of his Oscar nod but sadly he's the best facet of this heavy handed movie. Kevin MacDonald directs this film sloppily and has a tendency to beat the audience over the head with important or dramatic moments. It's far from a horrible effort but with the top tier performances from Whitaker and McAvoy, to a lesser extent, a more subdued directorial hand may have served the film better. This film is worth watching simply to see Whitaker dish out a career defining performance.
When betrothed to King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), the Austrian-born Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) enters the French court, rebels against Versailles and becomes France's most misunderstood monarch. Stripped of her riches, imprisoned and beheaded by her own subjects, the queen of France becomes a symbol of excess.
Cast Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull (more)
Director(s) Sofia Coppola
Writer(s) Sofia Coppola
Status On DVD
Release Date Oct. 20, 2006
DVD Release Date Feb. 13, 2007
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for sexual content, partial nudity and innuendo.
Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette is an opulent exercise in stagnation. If you are looking for a sweeping historical epic then you will be sorely disappointed with this film. Instead, Coppola chooses to focus on the title character's sense of confinement. This is a film that has an almost dream like lack of forward momentum. Coppola does inject the film with some style by infusing some modern music into certain of the films sequences. Once Marie arrives a Versailles Coppola plays it more as if she's been sentenced to a gaudy prison sentence. Kirsten Dunst is decent as the titular character giving her a decent amount of naiveté and confusion. Jason Schwartzman is given painfully little to do here other than look perplexed and uninterested. Still, while this movie might not be for everyone, Sophia Coppola does deliver an interesting film, so much so that when the movie reaches its historical climax you feel a true sense of pain and empathy for the title character.